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Reel Review


Making a Power Play, the Shimano Tranx Baitcaster


Date: 6/15/17
Tackle type: Reel
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.55 - GREAT

When it comes to upsized power reels Shimano has a relatively small lineup when compared to most of the other competitors. The Curado 300 has grown long in the tooth, and yet continues to be a favorite among big bait anglers. Many anglers have moved on to the more affordable Daiwa Lexa or very polished Abu Revo Toro reels. Shimano has been due to overhaul their big baitcaster lineup and the company’s latest power play was to leverage their saltwater proven Tranx Series to create a new platform that could handle both fresh and saltwater applications, and just about everything in between.


Shimano Tranx 300A Reel Specifications

Line Capacity (lbs / yds) 14/180, 17/150
Gear Ratio 5.8:1 (7.6:1 also available in AHG reel)
Measured Weight 11.6 ounces
Measured Max. Drag 23.4 lbs measured max drag
Number of Bearings 5BB + 1RB
Features Hagane-body (metal frame), X-Ship, Core Protect water resistant design, HEG gearing, power handle in high speed reels
Origin Malaysia
MSRP $299.99


Shimano's latest big baitcaster, the Shimano Tranx


Impressions: Round reels are great but the popularity of oversized low profile baitcasters continues to gain momentum as anglers don’t want to sacrifice ergonomics when fishing heavier applications. The Curado 300 whet the appetite for big bait and inshore anglers and yet they wanted more power and more capacity, all in sleeker updated design. Shimano’s answer is the new Tranx Series, designed with the latest HEG and X-Ship technologies to enable anglers to better tackle big fish in both heavy freshwater and saltwater applications beyond just inshore.


Originally a saltwater series the Tranx is now ready for freshwater duty

The Tranx Series is available in four new models, the Tranx 300, 400, and left-hand retrieve 301 and 401 with more powerful 5.8:1 gear ratios; and the Tranx 300HG, 400HG, left-hand retrieve 301HG and 401HG, all with faster 7.6:1 gear ratios. The Tranx HG reels are capable of retrieving 40-inches of line per crank with their single handle and durable, lightweight CI4+ knob. The low gear reels retrieve 30-inches of line and have a double handle with oversized rubber knobs.


The Tranx is designed for tossing big baits and taking down big fish

These reels are designed to handle big fish and heavy applications and to achieve that Shimano needed to deliver a combination of both power and capacity. The Tranx 300 reels hold up to 190 yard of 50-pound test PowerPro (or 180 yards of 14-pound mono), while the 400 size Tranx can handle 170-yards of 65-pound PowerPro (or 260 yards of 14-pound mono.) Both have plenty of capacity to tackle even large species in fresh and brackish water, as well as address numerous saltwater applications as well.


Anodized blue handles and drag stars give the Tranx a splash of color

Styling on the new Tranx reels is elegant, maybe even conservative when compared with Shimano’s smaller baitcasters, but certainly a lot more modern looking than the original Tranx reels.


The new reels feature a protective coating over for enhanced corrosion resistance and it is the deep blue anodized drag star and handle that provide the most dramatic visual styling cues. Personally I like the way that the Tranx looks, and the neutral silver and blue finish makes it easy to match this reel up with just about any rod.


The silver finish is clean and simple and looks good on just about any rod

Next Section: Taking the Tranx's cranking power to task









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